Another poem inspired by Duanaire Finn -- you may now be able to tell why these come under the 'esoteric' category. There's a moving poem in that text where Finn lists the warriors he has buried across Ireland, and it ends by implying that Oisin (mentioned previously in this set of poems) will be the one to bury Finn, leaving him to walk the country alone and try to understand a new world that doesn't resemble the one he remembers.

I have a lot of feelings about Oisin. But this poem isn't about him -- it's about Finn, and the funeral journey he made, saying goodbye to all the warriors who fought with him. I like this poem a lot, and I wish it could stand alone, but I think without any knowledge of the text that inspired it, it lacks most of its significance. So it ended up in this collection, where at least I can tell you that there is context, even if you don't necessarily know it yourself. It's the best I can do -- unless everybody would like to read Duanaire Finn


Here’s a stone for my brother
and a stone for my sons
and a stone for the men who fought with me.

The stones are as jagged as the antlers
of the stag we brought down last winter,
red blood on icy leaves.

One hill after the next,
I plant beacons of stones
that say death, death, death.

This man fell before me.
This man fell because of me.
This man I buried with fighting hands.

From this hill I can see my sons;
from there they can see the sea.
Stones after stones.

This one hides eight men.
This one hides thirty.
This one is an army’s final resting place.

This one marks the men that I loved
and this one my allies
and here is a hill with no stone.

It is bound to my back
and when I let it fall it is bloodied.
My blood. My stone.

There’s a stone for my brothers
and a stone for my sons
and here on the last hill is a stone for me,

and a last man left to bury me.

The End

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